Joshua Dwain Frith, Kate McElwee, and Verna Pitts
At Home w/ David Alan Harvey Workshop
I have decided to occasionally publish here on Burn, work from students I have in workshops…With their work from the 5 days of shooting customary in most workshops…The three students here were all in my recent NYC Loft workshop and all looking in the mirror so to speak…All taking a good look at themselves or their own family…The other thing that makes these three similar is that they all earn their livings as wedding photographers. Good ones too. Yet all three in my class to see if they could take their craft and their art beyond the commercial wedding world which does provide them all with a good living yet still leaves them starving for their own voice.
I give students mostly only one thing. Total freedom. Nothing scares the shit out of people more than total freedom. It is what everyone says they want, and yet when actually handed freedom on a silver platter and with a venue where all this freedom production will appear, and well choke choke choke…Almost every time. Predictable. Normal. People cannot handle creative freedom as well as they think they can. A fantasy that becomes a reality very quickly when new found freedom students hit the street. Angst, tears, hand wringing, sleepless nights are all part of the fun of my classes. I do not take the hot tub seance approach to teaching. I want to change lives. Give each student something they can “use” forever.
None of the three presented here has anything close to a complete essay. These three pieces are in fact all exercises. Meant to get them thinking and a springboard to their next work.
Joshua Dwain Frith a Brooklyn born pro wedding photographer who really wants to “break out” and get into larger realms of photography. Josh started his week with me saying he wanted to do a story on city bikes…I always try to get students to do something close to home, and after talking with Josh he mentioned his aunt and uncle who he rarely visited but had strong childhood connections to. I figured Josh would learn more doing his family than nice bike art….
Kate McElwee is a successful pro wedding photog with a biz in Boston. Polite, urbane, classy, Kate is screaming to get out get moving in new directions. Kate started out the week shooting dogs. Yet finally she became her own best model using self portraiture as a useful hand hold to get going and thinking “voice” for the long run….
Verna Pitts’ first words to the class was that she felt she had devoted her life to husband and kids, and with not much left for herself..She wants to reclaim lost territory, a fairly typical lament…I spend lots of time with folks who feel this way for one reason or another. As George Eliot said “It is never too late to be the man/woman you could have been.” I believe this. I have seen some make this happen. My job is to see if I can help make it happen.
Every class is its own dynamic. I have never had two students alike even after being a photo workshop teacher for 40+ years. I will show you other types of students in the future who take an entirely different direction than these three. Again shown here to be helpful for some and not intended to be finished essays.